About the game:
Genre: Bullet Hell
Primary Role: UI Designer
Engine: Unreal Engine 4
Project Duration: 2 weeks
Team Size: 7
Selection of Placeholder Audio
Kitty Caller is a mobile Bullet Hell game, in which you need to collect the right letters to understand what your cat is trying to tell you and dodge hairballs and wrong letters in the process with the help of some useful pick-ups.
The assignment for this project was rather interesting and very challenging; we needed to combine the target audience of ‘Soccer Moms’ with the genre ‘Bullet Hell’. At first, this seemed impossible, but in the end it turned out quite fine.
My roles in this project were UI designer, Narrative designer, QA and ‘Audio’ Designer. The first two were roles I was not very experienced at, so I wanted to improve on them. ‘Audio’ design was something I had never done before, and the reason I call it ‘Audio’ is because I only had to make sure there were placeholders in game as we had no real audio designer and we had limited time (the duration of this project’s development was 2 weeks).
Target Audience Research
The story behind this game is that we would get a random target audience and a random genre we had to adhere to. Our task was to combine both the target audience of “Soccer Moms” and the genre “Bullet Hell” together. Therefore, we needed to do in-depth target audience research as we were not too familiar with this audience yet.
I have tried to search for trustworthy resources to base my research on and many preferences of our audience became quite clear.
I had been in charge of doing the UI for Kitty Caller, which is an important task for a mobile game and therefore quite a scary thing to do as someone not as proficient with this specialization.
After in-depth research, I applied my conclusion from that research on the design for this game. Unfortunately, I barely managed to iterate on this due to only having 2 weeks to develop this game.
For this project I also did the smoke tests as the one in charge of QA. Three days a week I tested the build and noted down what was missing and reported any occuring bugs.
An early mock-up for Kitty Caller
The narrative for this game should not be too extensive, it should be easily understandable and it should be achievable within 2 weeks. This is the reason why I only used the words we needed to collect as the narrative of the game; I could not put any more pressure on the team by designing intricate dialogue systems and neither would our target audience have time for this.
Due to another requirement we had, which was to have the theme “Alternate History”, and the requirement to have something simple for our target audience, we decided to go with changing historical people into cats and the player having to try and understand what they are telling you by gathering the letters in the middle of the ‘Bullet Hell’ of hairballs.
This is not my proudest work, but I think that, despite that, it was more than a realistic goal to only set the narrative by the words that needed to be gathered and the way the cats looked (like historical figures) and spending more time on this would have been a waste for both me and my team.
The way this process went was as following:
I determined which historical figure would be in which stage and how many letters that stage requires.
I researched the historical figures individually.
Then, I brainstormed words that both fit the letter count and the character we are trying to tell about.
Furthermore, I set up lists of those words and tested the lists as well as the individual words in combination with the historical figure.
This is a very minor task I tried – I have never done anything with audio before and because of the lack of time, I simply had to select royalty-free audio for this game.